There have been a lot of discussion going on about smart cities and the new technology that we are calling Internet of things or IoT.

IoT basically connects different devices into a single network that ensures better data transfer and data analysis. This analysis can be used to make different important decisions. Using IoT to plan and develop cities is an exciting notion and the benefits are endless. IoT can help us devising cities that offer greater safety, less pollution, energy efficiency, lower costs of living and better quality of life. According to some experts from Smart America Challenge within the next 20 years, cities across the globe will spend an astonishing $41 trillion on building smart cities using IoT technologies.

Some of the major applications of IoT that can help us in planning and development of smart cities are discussed below.
Transport:
One of the major issues of current cities is traffic jams and traffic congestion. This not only makes the daily life of people difficult but is also very damaging to the business. Using IoT technology we can monitor traffic in different parts of the city and the times in which traffic density is the most. Using this information smart solutions for better traffic management can be used to ensure better flow of traffic. One such solution is the traffic density measuring traffic lights.

Environment:
Environmental management is also an important feature of smart cities. Environment greatly affects the working of any city and monitoring factors such as air, water, and noise pollution are of utmost importance. In addition to this, cities must also be prepared for any kind of extreme weather conditions such as floods or hurricanes. IoT can be used to develop smart warning systems that will warn the residents of any natural calamity beforehand significantly decreasing the damages.

Safety:
Innovations in IoT technology are greatly increasing the safety of our cities. Safety is one of the things that are of utmost importance to the cities. Using technologies such as CCTV and incident detection systems or smart alarm systems the security of cities is increased manifold. Smart street lights and IoT based crowd management systems have also helped in making our cities more secure.

Utilities:
The integration of IoT in utilities is not only saving customers a lot of money but is also having a great positive effect on the overall environment of the world. Using IoT based applications such as smart water and electricity monitoring systems people are able to control the usage of these utilities which means lower bills and less energy consumption.

Health:
With increased population, the chances of spreading of different viral diseases also increasing. Using IoT as a tool we can devise different solutions that will not only make disease control more effective but also make sure that people get quick and sufficient healthcare services whenever needed. This technology can help in reducing the problem of overcrowded health care units and hospitals.

Tourism and entertainment:
Tourism is the building block of any city and has great benefits for the community. It creates more jobs and greatly contributes to the economy of the city. By using IoT we can not only better manage the tourism of the city we can also greatly enhance it. By making a central guiding system for the tourist cities can signify the important sightseeing places and restaurants or hotels. Better crowd management at famous places can also be achieved using IoT as a tool.

Commerce:
Using IoT we can greatly enhance the commerce of the city. There are a lot of applications based on IoT that can ensure better management of any business which will in return generate more revenue for the city. By making optimized retail stores according to the wishes of the shoppers we can enhance business activities in that store. IoT can also be used to make the system of home deliveries and logistics more efficient which can enhance commerce of the city.

With more people migrating towards cities every year the challenges of city management are increasing at an exponential rate. To counter these challenges, we need a whole new system. With IoT, we have the hope of transforming our cities into a system which will not only solve the current issues but also help in prediction and solution of future problems. Smart cities are the only solution to counter the increasing population in our cities. Using the IoT technology we can devise systems which will provide efficient and higher quality life to the people living in cities. According to some analysts, the smart cities industry will be worth about $27.5 billion annually by 2023. In some other reports, it is estimated that this industry will reach as much as $757 billion by 2020.